Tuesday, December 18, 2012

After Twenty Years

While my first hour seventh grade class is reading A Christmas Carol, my second hour is reading "After Twenty Years" by O. Henry.  

This year, we've all been studying the ELA standards.  Red Lake County Central teachers have been searching for ways to look at the common core and take the ELA standards to develop high order thinking according to Bloom's Taxonomy.  We've been concentrating on the first ten standards across the curriculum. 

We've been digging and searching and digging some more on how to get our kids to make the jump from objective ABCD answers on tests to digging deeper and writing meaningful answers.  

Change is hard, but the standards are important. 

When the students and I started reading "After Twenty Years", I asked them to think about their friends and how they thought their friends would change.  I put up a picture of my graduating class, and to pick which Purple Person was me. Surprisingly, they found me right away.

Monday, December 10, 2012

On Changing Courses

Last week, we started the drama version of A Christmas Carol in seventh grade.  My first hour loved it.  My second hour??  Well...  I changed course. 

We moved from the version of the book and when to a Reader's Theater version that only took one class time to read.  From there, I found other Christmas plays with a Reader's Theater theme.  They loved reading out loud and trying new voices.  They really did.  I just had to accommodate for their attention spans. 

To tell you the truth, I'm not sure they even noticed. They were just reading a Christmas theme, and that made them happy. 

In the meantime, first hour marches on reading A Christmas Carol.  They even seem to enjoy the complexities of the language and the historical context of Scrooge's world. 

It always surprises me how I need to be flexible....  It surprises me so much at what interests kids and what doesn't.  And if it doesn't? I have to ask myself if they are just being lazy and need to be pushed, or if this is something critically important that can be wrapped up and re-gifted?

Finding texts is the most important part of being a teacher.  If I can't find the correct text, my day was useless.  Students spent forty-five minutes being bored.  What good is that?